Kerala expects solution to dam row through court



Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy hopes that the long-pending dispute between Kerala and Tamil Nadu over the Mullaperiyar Dam could be resolved through legal processes, as the neighbouring state has not come forward for talks.

"We are always ready for talks, either bilateral or through the Centre's mediation. But Tamil Nadu has not agreed for that. In this situation, we expect a solution to the issue from the Supreme Court," Chandy said.

Making the state's position clear, he said Kerala wanted a new dam in place of the 116-year-old structure and also to maintain the water level at 136 feet.

The state was opposed to the proposal of the Supreme Court appointed Empowered Committee to raise the water level to 142 feet. Similarly, the proposal to construct a tunnel at 50 feet below the present dam to route water to Tamil Nadu was not acceptable to Kerala, Chandy said.

The construction of the tunnel will harm the state in many ways including disappearance of the reservoir itself, he said.

"While we hold on to this position, we are not asking for the scrapping of the agreement with Tamil Nadu, nor do we want to curtail single drop of water flowing to Tamil Nadu. Our persistent stand has been water for Tamil Nadu and safety for Kerala, Chandy, who completed one year in office, said.

On concerns voiced by some quarters over the panel report, he claimed that the empowered committee had in-principle accepted the demand for a new dam.

The Mullaperiyar Dam is located in Kerala's Idduki district but managed by Tamil Nadu on a 999-year lease period. Tamil Nadu has been maintaining that the dam was safe and the water level can be raised to 142 ft.

On Tamil Nadu's demand that the entire power to be produced from Kudankulam Nuclear Plant be allotted to it, he said Kerala was entitled to its share from the plant and it was the Centre's responsibility to ensure that the state received it.

"It is the responsibility of the Centre to make due share available to the state," said Chandy, who had earlier this month written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking 500 MW from the Kudamkulam plant.

PTI